Afenifere Warns FG Against Plan To Increase Fuel Price

…..Says FG’s  Latest Position On Igboho Raises Question On Its Commitment To Political Solution To Agitators’ Cases  

The intensified effort of the federal government of Nigeria to extradite Mr. Sunday Adeyemo Igboho from Benin Republic is a clear indication that the government is not totally committed to genuinely tackle the challenges thrown up by those who are agitating for self determination in the country.

Making this declaration was the Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, in a Press Release signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi.

The Release also described the plan to increase the prices of fuel as “another indication of how insensitive the present administration is as far as the welfare of Nigerians is concerned”.

According to Afenifere, were the government to be sincere with its recent declaration of wanting to settle the agitators’ issues politically, it would not be pursuing the path of extradition that it is bent on doing presently.

Not only that, the government would obey the verdict given by a High Court in Ibadan on September 17, 2021 by paying the ₦20.5 billion as ordered rather than going on an appeal.

Last week Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari hinted at the possibility of using extra judicial process to resolve the issues between the government and self determination agitators like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo Igboho.

He stated this while responding to the plea of Elders from the South Eastern part of the country who came to plead for the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu. The Elders were led by the 93 year old Pa Amaechi.

The president’s view was a reinforcement of a similar testament made on November 10 this year by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami on the same issue.

But while giving insight into why the government had not obeyed the court order to pay Igboho ₦20.5 billion, an operative of the Department of State Security (DSS), Mr. Johnson Oluwole said that it was because an extradition case had been filed against Igboho and that the rights agitator is in a Benin prison as a fugitive.

But Ajayi, in the Release, contended that if the federal government genuinely wanted to solve the problems thrown up by self determination agitations, “it should obey the judgements already given in favour of the agitators and convene meetings with leaders of the ethnic nationalities particularly those from the South East and South West where Kanu and Igboho came from.

Solicitors for the agitators and interested stakeholders should also be present at the meetings”.

Ajayi added that such meetings should be convened without delay.

Also commenting on the plan by the federal government to get a litre of motor fuel to sell for between ₦320 and ₦350 in 2022, Afenifere spokesman said that the plan, if carried out, may plunge the country into an avoidable social, economic and industrial crisis. The resultant effect may snowball into a very serious logjam as the ignited labour crises may adversely affect the political trajectory of the country.

Besides calling on the government to rescind its decision on the planned price increase, Ajayi said that Nigerians have reasons to no longer trust the government on the tokens it promises to provide as palliatives to cushion the effect of the price increase. He hinged the mistrust on similar promises made in the past but that were not kept accordingly.

“Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, talked about the reactivation of the four petroleum refineries along with the coming on stream of the ones being built by private investors. Why is government unwilling to wait for the refineries to start full production before removing the phantom fuel subsidy? 

Ajayi raised this poser against the background of the declaration by the said Minister that the fuel price will be due to the removal of fuel subsidy.

“Fuel subsidy mantra has been on for a long time. It has been proven to be an avenue to siphon public fund. But then, government should stop using it as an excuse to inflict pains on the people. It should fix the refineries, ensure that they are in full swing production before talking about fuel price of any sort”, the Afenifere spokesman concluded.

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